One of the cool things about doing this is that you get to keep pace with everything that’s in the auto industry’s pipeline when it comes to new vehicles, engines and technology. And there’s a big one coming this week. Volkswagen will continue a performance heritage that reaches back to 2002 when it rolls out its new Golf R on Wednesday. It will sit atop the model hierarchy of the eighth-generation Golf, and thereby occupies a place of honor: When the first Golf R32 was introduced in 2002, it immediately outsold the manufacturer’s projections by 300 percent. That makes this an important car. Volkswagen promises it will be a worthy successor.
Perhaps the most noteworthy news concerning the new Golf R will be its use of Volkswagen’s 4Motion all-wheel-drive system, with driver-selectable torque control for power directed to the rear wheels. The 4Motion system is managed by communication with other chassis controls including the Golf R’s electronic differential locks and its adaptive shock damping. Volkswagen is saving the precise output numbers for the car’s actual introduction, but assures the Golf R will receive the most powerful version of its EA888 2.0-liter turbocharged inline four, with direct injection, a water-cooled exhaust gas duct in the cylinder head that feeds the turbocharger, and variable valve timing with dual camshaft adjustment. Put it this way: The performance Golf it replaces had a factory rating of 292 horsepower. We’ll see it that number gets toppled.